If the court has indeed granted bail, former Sen. Estrada can post bail by Saturday. File photo

Sandiganbayan grants Jinggoy bail – sources
Elizabeth Marcelo (philstar.com) - September 15, 2017 - 10:25am
MANILA, Philippines — A special division of the Sandiganbayan has granted the petition for bail of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, reliable sources from the anti-graft court confirmed Friday.
 
In an interview with select reporters, one of the sources said the court's Special Fifth Division voted 3-2 in favor Estrada's omnibus motion, which he filed in September last year.
 
The source, however, refused to name the magistrates who voted in favor of or against the motion.
 
Another source said the court set Estrada's bail at P1 million for plunder and P330,000 for his 11 counts of graft.
 
Meanwhile, officials of the Sandiganbayan Sheriff's Office confirmed to the STAR that a resolution was indeed promulgated by the court and was served to the Philippine National Police on Friday afternoon. They, however, did not elaborate on the content of the resolution.
 
The Fifth Division did not furnish the members of the media with a copy of the ruling despite waiting at their office for the whole day.
 
In a phone interview with the STAR, one of Estrada's lawyers, Alexis Abastillas-Suarez said their camp has yet to receive a copy of the resolution.
 
Suarez said that if Estrada's motion was indeed granted by the court, the former senator will be posting his bail on Saturday.
 
“It's hard to speculate or preempt the court. Until we receive a copy of the resolution, we defer to make a statement,” she said.
 
A source from the Sandiganbayan had earlier confirmed to the STAR that the a special division of five was convened to decide on Estrada's motion.
 
The source said a special division was convened after the three regular members of the Fifth Division, Associate Justices Rafael Lagos, Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Reynaldo Cruz failed to reach a unanimous decision on Estrada's
 
Under the Revised Internal Rules of the Sandiganbayan a "unanimous vote of the three Justices" is required when granting or deciding on a motion.
 
If a unanimous decision is not reached, the presiding justice would have to designate two other justices from other divisions to participate in the voting.
 
The Sandiganbayan source said Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses and Lorifel Pahimna were already chosen to participate in the voting.
 
Pahimna was an appointee of President Rodrigo Duterte.
 
When asked for confirmation regarding the special division's composition, Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang advised the reporters to just "wait for the official promulgation of the resolution once it is finally reached".
 
The plunder and graft cases stemmed from Estrada's alleged amassing of P183-million worth of kickbacks by allocating portions of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel to bogus foundations allegedly owned by the alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
 
Estrada and Napoles are in detention since the filing of the cases in June 2014.
 
Estrada's petition for bail had earlier been denied with finality by the Fifth Division, but in September last year, his camp filed an Omnibus Motion, which again prayed for bail on the groud of the supposed failure of the prosecution to establish the elements of plunder.
 
Estrada's camp also argued that the prosecution failed to identify him in the charge sheet as the "main plunderer" in the case.
 
Estrada argued if the alleged P183-million kickbacks is to be divided among him and his three co-accused, each's share would only amount to P45.9-million, below the P50 million threshold amount of illegally amassed fund for a crime to be considered as plunder.
 
Further, Estrada also maintained that he is not a flight and his continued detention has already caused him "irreparable" lost of right to liberty.

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